Running is a favorite sports for many people: unlike other activities, you do not need a big investment (as long as you do not go crazy with shopping ), you can do it anywhere and it helps you to get in shape. In theory there is nothing essential to become a runner, except for good shoes (and I would add an exercise stress test to rule out possible problems), but the truth is that when we start running we never seem to have enough accessories.
We are talking about novice runners: it is clear that if you are going to run a marathon or if you are going to do a long distance in mountain, you are going to need some additional accessories that, without a doubt, can improve your training and your experience as a runner. But, if I’m starting to run, do I really need all these accessories?
Compression garments: the great misunderstood
The compression garments, among which we can find t-shirts, but mainly compression socks and shin guards in the case of runners , are those that, thanks to their fabric, compress the muscle, facilitating the venous return and improve the oxygenation of the tissues.
It is true that studies have shown (such as this by Varela-Sanz et al. ) That compression stockings improve the performance of runners , delaying the onset of fatigue. In addition, they are also useful for improving the recovery of athletes.
But are they really needed for a novice runner? In general, compression stockings are for medium-long distance races. This is to delay the onset of fatigue when we have traveled a good few kilometers. If you are a novice runner, and you are currently working on shorter runs, save that money for other useful accessories: you will have time to wear compression garments when you increase your mileage.
Elastic laces, leave them to triathletes
Another of the accessories seen in many runners who have just started are the elastic laces : it is, as the name implies, a few elastic rubber cords with a single closure at the end. They fit very quickly and with a very simple gesture, that’s why they are used by triathletes, who need to change their shoes very quickly in transitions.
Does it make sense for a rookie runner to change normal laces to elastic ones? In principle, if you are starting to run and you do not have triathlete aspirations, it is not necessary . They are a good investment and not very expensive (no more than 10 dollars), but they just aren’t necessary for a novice – that’s for sure.
Gels and energy drinks: only for long runs
Gels, jellies, energy drinks … The market has lots of possibilities when looking to renew energy during training. We know that hydration and nutrition are very important parts of every athlete , but sometimes we rush ahead and purchase products specifically designed for endurance athletes when we are still new.
One of these cases is that of energy gels : it would not be the first time I see runners in a race of 5 or 10 kilometers consuming gels halfway, when it is totally unnecessary . Glucose gels, or energy gums (easier to take on the run) make sense when we are facing long distances where we deplete our body’s glycogen stores. If you are a rookie runner and you focus on short distances, focus on taking proper nutrition and forget about them for now.
On energy drinks for recovery, a indiscriminate use is made of them, when in reality most of the time water is sufficient. So my running tip would be, ditch the energy drinks. Aside from water and electrolytes, they usually contain a lot of sugar so moderating their consumption is always a good idea.
Other expendable accessories
- Head light: unless you are running the mountain at night, the front headlight is expendable. You can make yourself visible through reflective garments(in fact, most runners’ garments, including slippers, often have some reflective element) and, before running in dark places, we recommend that you do so in brightly lit places. If you are a city runner there is no major problem.
State-of-the-art heart rate monitor: you ‘ve just started, so don’t complicate it. If you want to control your heart rate, you do not need to buy a watch with an optical pulse monitor integrated into the wrist: the chest straps heart rate monitors work perfectly (often better than the heart rate monitor in The wrist) and also tend to be less expensive. If you want a GPS, you can always use mobile apps like Strava, Runtastic, Nike + Run Club or Runkeeper.
- Hydration Backpack: Seriously , if you’re starting you’re not going to do many miles it does not pay for you to carry a hydration pack. Be sure to hydrate well before you leave and when you arrive , and it will be more than enough.
During your first months as a runner, invest in good sneakers , an exercise test, learning the technique of running and adding kilometers: when you accumulate training and experiences and plan medium and long distance races, it will make more sense to have The right accessories.